Author: Laura Sebastian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Castles in their Bones (Castles in their Bones #1) by Laura Sebastian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Castles in their Bones (Castles in their Bones #1) by Laura Sebastian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Castles in their Bones (Castles in their Bones #1) by Laura SebastianCastles in their Bones (Castles in their Bones #1)
by Laura Sebastian
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Immerse yourself in the first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series.

Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the CASTLES IN THEIR BONES by Laura Sebastian Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my review below and make sure to enter the giveaway!

********

“Like Mama always says,” Beatriz murmurs. “We’re three stars of the same constellation. Distance won’t change that.”

I REALLY like Castles in their Bones, the newest series from Ash Princes author Laura Sebastian. It’s essentially three stories smushed together in a single book, with threads weaving the stories together. It’s definitely has shades of Three Dark Crowns, but the sisters are working together instead of against each other. There’s so many twists and turns, y’all aren’t ready.

“You wish to appear smaller?” she asks, shaking her head. You are a queen. Why shouldn’t you take up every bit of space you deserve?”

As I mentioned above (and in the book synopsis) the story follows three triplet princesses: Daphne, Sophia and Beatriz. On their their 16th birthday they are sent to rival countries to marry princes and secure their country’s relations at their behest. However, thanks to their mother’s training since they were young, they are lethal and skilled and ready to bring down each of the countries so they can be ruled as one. Naturally, things are not as simple as that and the plan becomes complicated as each girl settles into her role and meets new allies and enemies.

It shouldn’t matter what he believes in, it shouldn’t make her heart beat faster, it shouldn’t let her forget, even for a second, who she is and why she is here. But it does, and that makes it dangerous.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of because as I mentioned before, there’s essentially three independent stories going on (with small things keeping them intwined). I really liked all three of the sisters. When I was reading Three Dark Crowns, I definitely had my favorite sister, but I really couldn’t pick a favorite from these three. They all had great things about them, and while their stories ebbed and flowed with excitement, I truly was rooting for all of them.

As for the side characters, I loved getting to know Leopold, Bairre, Pasquale, Nico and Ambrose. They each brought something great to the table, even if they all aren’t necessarily the *good guys.* There’s plenty of other side characters too, but I can’t say I was as much of a fan of them or their actions. I enjoyed each of the romances for the girls, but I don’t want to say more due to spoilers. None if it is too deep, but it was really lovely watching each of them feel something for someone other than their sisters.

The world-building was really unique, as was the magic system. I can’t say I’ve really read anything else that is even close to star magic. For lack of a better word, it was really magical ha. Each country felt really unique and realistic, especially when it came to the star magic rules.

And how about the ending, hmm? Well let’s just say I audibly gasped and put my hand over my mouth. I know it’s fade to black and there’s a chance (I don’t care what the epilogue says) that what we are told happened didn’t necessarily. Until we get book two, I refuse to believe it *plugs ears and closes eyes.* If Sebastian really did do THAT, then WOW. That was really bold. But I remain in denial/optimistic for now.

Please grab this book right now! It released on February 1, so no excuses! Yes, sometimes it gets a bit confusing jumping between the stories and keeping track of all the characters, but it is so worth it. The way the stories were threaded was incredibly well done and the book really kept my attention. I am anxiously awaiting the follow up to this one and seeing what comes next for these three girls who really need a hug and a vacation.

“It’s always easier to love people who need us than people we need, I think. Being needed makes one powerful. Needing, though, makes vulnerable.”

 Other Reviews:

Enchanting…filled with captivating court intrigue and espionage.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A page-turner that brilliantly blends magic, romance, and adventure. A twist ending leaves readers reeling but ready for the second installment in the planned trilogy.” –Booklist

“Sebastian excels at world building…and a few tantalizing open threads certainly warrant interest in the future two volumes in this trilogy.” –The Bulletin

“An extravagantly built series starter” –Publishers Weekly

About Laura:

Laura Sebastian grew up in South Florida and attended Savannah  College of Art and Design. She now lives and writes in London, England, with her two dogs, Neville and Circe. Laura is the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series: Ash PrincessLady Smoke, and Ember Queen, as well as Half Sick of Shadows, her first novel for adults. To learn more about Laura and her books, follow @sebastian_lk on Twitter.

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Giveaway:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of CASTLES IN THEIR BONES, US Only.

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BOOK REVIEW: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

Looking back through Goodreads, I somehow forgot to post this review back in March, whoops! So here we go.....

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura SebastianLady Smoke (Ash Princess #2)
by Laura Sebastian
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia's mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo's country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess--a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn't realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage--Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser's rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.

To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.

Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself

Review:

Looking back, Lady Smoke was my favorite book in this trilogy.  There was lots of action and I loved how the characters worked together and grew. With sweaty palms and my heart in my throat, some of the moments were definitely intense.  The games and strategies they set in place were so much fun to watch unfold.  It added to the unknown feel, made the story more emotional and I loved every minute of it.  With the reappearance of some old faces, this book had it all.  Lady Smoke was definitely my favorite in the Ash Princess Trilogy.

“You want something,” he says quietly, trying to sit up straighter. Heron didn’t do a thorough job of healing him, and he still winces in pain. Bruised ribs, maybe.
“I didn’t realize it was like this,” I tell him. “I had no idea.”
Søren looks at me incredulously before his gaze softens. “It’s war,” he says. “This is how it goes. Your friend is right. We both know I’ve done worse things.”

 
Artemisia

We must also bring them hope,” she said, as if it were a physical thing we could deliver in a basket tied with ribbon. As if it were easy to share with others when it’s hard enough to keep my own hope from dying.
When I say as much to Artemisia, she shakes her head. “Hope is contagious,” she says. “When you have enough, it spreads naturally.”

Artemisia became one of my favorites.  She was such an unknown in Ash Princess.  And she came across as cold.  But in this book, I started to absolutely love her.  Artemisia was complicated and the more we learned about her, it explained all of her complexities.  One of my favorite things was watching how Theo and her interacted.  I loved watching their dynamics play out.  Watching them learn to trust and work together was one of my favorite things in this story.  I could easily read a spin-off series about Artemisia!

 

Søren

The last time I saw him, I had betrayed him and he had told me he loved me anyway. He doesn’t. He can’t love me.

Yes Søren had done horrific things, and had gone along with some of his father’s wishes, but it didn’t matter me to.  When I looked at him, I didn’t just see all the blood on his hands and soul.  That was partly because he was raised by a monster. So when he was finally free, I loved the choice he made.  He had so much redemption in him and I was his biggest champion.  I loved how smart he was and how quick he was in situations.  He was a true warrior and survivor.  And I loved how Søren was Theo’s biggest supporter.

 

Theodosia

I did what I had to do, I tell myself again, and though that might be the truth, it doesn’t ease the guilt that’s worked its way under my skin.

I love that Theo was smart and who she chose to trust. But most of all, I loved that she couldn’t control how she felt.  No matter how hard she tried. She was fierce, brave, yet she still had a heart. In my eyes she had everything that would someday make her a great ruler!  Especially when she stood up for what she believed in.

I know him and he knows me and the darkest parts of our souls match.

The plans that came together were exciting and the way the politics played into this story was fascinating!  If you’re a fan of the first book or fantasy, then this book is for you!  Lady Smoke set the stage for the final book, and I was so excited to see how it was all going to end!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian

I’m so excited to be a part of the Ember Queen tour! So check out my review below, along with some of my favorite quotes. And enter in a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy! ♥

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura SebastianEmber Queen (Laura Sebastian)
by Laura Sebastian
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling series "made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir" (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo's blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.

The Kaiserin's strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart's sister.

Review:

Ember Queen was a beautiful weaving together of friendship, trust, tears, love, and sacrifice.  This series completely enchanted me and I devoured it in no time at all.  I fell in love with these characters.  They held my heart in the palm of their hands during their action packed journey!  So if you’re a fan of young adult and fantasy, definitely add this series to your tbr.  Here are some of my favorite things about this final book…..

 

✮Sacrifice and Tears:
Oh, Ember Queen made me cry.  Not only was life and war brutal and unfair.  But the way some of the relationships played out tore my heart apart.  These characters became real to me.  I felt everything they did and I was with them every step of the way.  So it was impossible for them not to mark my heart with their emotions.  It was impossible not to find tears in my eyes or falling down my face.  The sacrifice and certain moments in this story made me cry sad and happy tears.  It was tragically and beautifully emotional.  I loved it!

 

✮Friendship:
Friendship has played such a strong part in this trilogy.  And in Ember Queen, it got even more complex.  There was hurt because of decisions that were made.  There was deep love between some of the friendships.  And there was trust threaded through some of my favorite friendships.  Through it all, it was fascinating watching how they protected each other.  For those around Theo, my favorites were definitely Søren, Artemisia, Blaise, and Heron.  Plus some from the previous books and ones we met in Ember Queen…but those names I’m keeping a secret.

 

✮Trust:
Just like sacrifice played a huge part, so did trust.  In this final book, trust was put on the line and tested.  And some of the things that happened, oh, I didn’t even see coming.  I felt the knife to my heart, right along with Theo.  But it all made for an exciting journey, plus I loved getting to see exactly who we could and couldn’t trust as things unfolded.  It left me always wanting to know what happened next.  So while there was tension, fighting, politics, and strategizing, there was always trust.  And sometimes it took my breath away.

 

✮Love:
I don’t feel like I can say much about this, because of spoilers.  But just know that the love in this trilogy was epic, heart felt and I was rooting for it from that very first book!

 

I binged this trilogy in a matter of days.  And that never happens with me.  I’m usually a much slower reader.  The only thing I was left wanting was the ending to have a little bit more closure in regards to the romance.  But still, I can’t wait to see whatever Laura Sebastian releases in the future!

 

 

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Favorite Quotes:

“I died the Queen of Peace, and peace died with me,” my mother told me. “But you are the Queen of Flame and Fury, and you will set their world on fire.”

✮✩✮

When the world turns on its head and I’m not sure of anything, I’m sure of you. No matter where we are or who we fight against, I am always fighting for you.

✮✩✮

I survived for so long by not trusting anyone. It was a necessary lesson to learn, and I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t learned it, but now I don’t think I can make it to the end of this war without trust. There is nothing I wouldn’t trust Artemisia, Heron, and Blaise with—not my life and not the future of Astrea, if it comes to that.
The three of them exchange looks before nodding.
Yana Crebesti,” they say.

✮✩✮

Suddenly I miss Søren so much that it feels like a dagger between my ribs, twisting and carving away at my flesh. I don’t know if it’s the hopelessness and uncertainty of this looming battle or if it’s merely being here in this unfamiliar place, alone, but I miss him all the same.

✮✩✮

Even if we have the numbers to win this battle, we won’t do it without casualties. Their blood will be on my hands. And I don’t even know their names.

✮✩✮

“There’s no shame in breaking,” I tell him. “Gods know I did often enough. You just have to put yourself back together again.”

 

 

About Laura Sebastian:

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April 24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).

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